Editor's Note: We're rolling out 10 Days of Indie Merchant Gifts, in our annual celebration of the artists, craftspeople, designers and other independent merchants who make one-of-a-kind products.
We received great entries in the "pets category" when we put out our call in September for this year's Indie Merchant Holiday Gift Guide. To narrow down our top picks, we called in a discerning canine friend: Meatball the bulldog (owned by contributing editor Diana Ransom). Check out a video of Meatball trying the items here. With his help, we chose these five products -- all made by independent merchants -- for their uniqueness, value and function. Plus, we (humans) liked the stories behind them.